Guam: The unlikely third wheel
If Eid is about those less fortunate than yourself, spare a thought this holiday for the often forgotten and even less often remembered people of Guam. A tiny island, officially a US island territory near the absolutely miniscule Micronesia in the Western Pacific, is an important strategic holding. During World War II it was taken over by the Japanese, whose last holdout only surrendered in 1972. Rumours are that they probably would have surrendered earlier, but no one actually thought to relay the news to the island due to its pocket-sized stature.
Fast forward to 2017, and Guam finally has its moment in the spotlight, but as with most places like it, it is fleeting and for all the wrong reasons. Guam has become the unlikely third wheel on a date that makes the Titanic look like a tremendous success. Kim Jong-un, a man whose infantile demeanour limits his policymaking skills to staring confusedly at whatever he is brought in front of (crops, nukes, execution orders, the undead spirit of Marxist socialism) and whose haircut tops the UN's list of North Korea's human rights violations, has picked a fight with the only man in world politics who can match both his childlike simplicity and his bad haircut—Donald J Trump.
Donald Trump rode a wave of white supremacist support into office last November, and has also displayed his policymaking skills to be quite limited, relying on unintelligible mouthbreathing to communicate. His first week as President saw him pick a fight with the President of Australia, a country so harmless they lost a war to a flightless bird. Unfortunately, for number 45, that remains the high point of his presidency. His administration has been rocked by scandal nearly every single week, from a raunchy tape of his last trip to Moscow, employing the worst people ever to subsequently firing them all (RIP Sean Spicy, gone but never forgotten), to rejuvenating Alec Baldwin's comedic career. Just in the last week, he pardoned an Arizona sheriff who tried making a concentration camp in the desert, and looked directly into a solar eclipse without those glasses you need. That sort of stupidity is expected from people like me, but that's also why I am not even president of my own kitchen. It's been a rollercoaster ride, but one that's not that fun, like the one in Fantasy Kingdom.
North Korea has tried its best to be a pest to the US for many years, and the isolationist socialist country has had some success in its nuclear programme. Enough for the big boys of the international military complex to whine and complain and put sanctions on them. Kim Jong-un claims they have the capacity to fire intercontinental ballistic missiles, and after spending the last few decades starving his people to fund the development of these weapons, he better have the capacity. Otherwise, this will all be seen as a massive waste of time.
Naturally, he has thus threatened to fire his missiles at Guam, a place 96 percent of Americans have never heard of, and the other four percent have only heard of since Kim made these threats. Furthermore, according to a totally legitimate survey, of those four percent, about 89 percent have dismissed this as “Fake News” before firing their rifles coated with NRA stickers into the air and expressing a general distaste for African-Americans.
Whether or not anything will come of this remains to be seen, but as far as diplomacy goes, Guam probably doesn't have any faith. North Korea has teased an assault for a long time, but it has not put out yet. Military action is a possibility between the US and North Korea, the most possible it's been in a long time. It's times like this when one must look at the positives. As Donald himself said, Guam should be happy with the attention it's receiving from international media, although his claims that this will boost tourism in Guam may not hold up. That being said, Guam has for the first time overtaken <insert irrelevant country here> in number of mentions on Twitter. I don't know if that's true, but let's pretend like it is.
At the time of writing, the situation seems to have calmed down a little bit like every other year when North Korea claims that they'll attack someone or the other. The news cycle has moved on. Trumpland has other problems to deal with. A giant stormy lake has formed where the city of Houston, TX used to be. Neo-nazi rallies are taking place all over the country, rejuvenating the long beleaguered tiki-torch industry. Elon Musk continues to claim that Skynet will happen soon. Game of Thrones has ended for the season, but Rick and Morty is still around. The world could be worse I guess. It definitely could be for Guam.
Bareesh Hasan Chowdhury is a recent Political Science graduate.